In spite of being a nurse, Kirsty Lane had no idea what to expect when she was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumour.
But her doctor suggested she get in touch with the Pituitary Foundation who helped her find out what to expect and supported her, so tomorrow she and about 20 friends will be walking to raise money for the charity as a thank you.
Kirsty, 25, who works in West Suffolk Hospital’s Stroke Unit, had been continually seeing her doctor complaining of headaches until he ordered a blood test early this year.
That revealed her hormone levels were ‘all over the place’ with one at 5,000 times the normal level.
An MRI scan then revealed a prolactinoma, a tumour on the pituitary gland.
Kirsty said: “Although, luckily, benign, it caused things to stop working properly and I did not feel much of a 25-year-old.
“It’s close to the back of the eye so if it had gone untreated, it could have caused blindness.”
She says she is now recovering well, but when she was first diagnosed she had no idea what impact the tumour or the treatment would have.
In fact, it is estimated only about 1 in 10,000 people develop a prolactinoma and the Pituitary Foundation says all pituitary conditions together only affect 0.08 to 0.11 per cent of the population, making them rare.
Kirsty explained: “I’ve never looked after anyone with a tumour of the pituitary gland, or even heard of anyone having one, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
That was when her doctor suggested she get in touch with the foundation.
“They really, really helped,” she said. “They put me in touch with other women my age who had had it and they helped me understand what would happen.
“It made it so much easier.”
So, tomorrow she, eight nurses from the hospital, friends and family will be taken to Mildenhall in a minibus, provided free by A1 Cars, and will walk the 13.5 miles back to Bury along the Lark Valley Path.
“This is my way of saying thank you,” Kirsty said.
You can help her say thank you by sponsoring the walkers at ww.justgiving.com/Kirsty-Lane4
For more information on the condition and the support the Pituitary Foundation can offer, visit www.pituitary.org.uk